Carl takes a detour into the quantum realm for his review of Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp on Blu-Ray
I was so looking forward to this.
Every Marvel Blu-Ray release is full of special features, from deleted scenes up to fantastic in-depth behind the scenes featurettes and the obligatory Gag Reel. Every detail of the film’s production is documented in style. So it pains me to report that, despite the film being an enjoyable roller coaster ride with great performances and some really funny moments, the Blu-Ray release lets it down.
Ant-Man and the Wasp | Marvel Studios
Far from the normal abundance of extras, the disc is an almost bare-bones release. 2 deleted scenes, a brief introduction and a gag reel that lasts 45 seconds does not a great release make. It does come with a digital downloadable copy but that is standard nowadays. And again, cannot disguise the huge lack of extras. It’s just lucky that the film is so much fun to watch and enjoy.
Scott Lang is almost at the end of two years of house arrest. Sentenced via a plea deal after his antics in Germany during the events of Captain America: Civil War, he cannot contain his excitement at finally being allowed out of the house again and able to roam free. All he needs to do is last 2 more days and he’s able to lose the ankle monitor he wears and to see the world outside his front door. He does feel remorse for taking the Ant-Man suit without Hank Pym’s Permission, this leading to Hank and his daughter Hope being hounded and hunted by the FBI for refusing to declare his technological hardware, losing his home in the process. Now on the run, Hank and Hope are trying to rebuild again, all the while attempting to build a bridge to the Quantum Realm where Hanks’s wife, Hope’s mother Janet Van Dyne has been trapped for the past thirty years after being forced to go subatomic during a rescue mission and being lost.
Scott has a dreamlike flashback in which a memory of playing hide and seek with a young Hope come to the fore. They are obviously not his memories. He doesn’t understand what he’s dreamt. Could he have encountered Janet in the quantum realm during the climax of the original film? Has she imprinted some kind of message for her family inside Scott’s head to help them to find her and bring her back? Scott doesn’t know. Using a securely hidden Cellphone, he calls and leaves a message for Hank, describing his dream before hanging up and destroying the phone in shame.
Hank sends Hope out as the Wasp to bring Scott to him in an attempt to retrieve the message from his missing wife and to locate her. Hank and Hope have been constructing a Quantum tunnel allowing them to enter the Realm. The problem they have is the tunnel is unstable. They have been getting parts from black market dealer Sonny Burch. Burch has realized the potential money he could earn from Pym’s research and during a meeting with Hope, double crosses them. Hope leaves, changes into the Wasp outfit and proceeds to attack Burch’s men in an attempt to regain the money he has stolen from her and her father and the part they so desperately need. However, before making her escape, she is attacked by a ‘Ghost’, a quantumly unstable masked woman who has her own need for the part. Lang dons the Ant-Man costume again and tries to intervene but the ghost escapes, taking with her Pym’s lab, which has been shrunk to the size of a suitcase.
The film takes many twists and turns throughout its 118 minutes run time. Crosses and double crosses take place. enemies turn out to be friends in reality and friends turn out to be just the kind of people you need to help save the world. The action and comedy come thick and fast, assaulting us relentlessly. Many critics have said that the Ant-Man films, while enjoyable are just fillers while we wait for the main events of The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor etc. I think this is rather unfair to the writers and the cast. Sure, the Ant-Man films are lighter in tone than say The Avengers but they stand on their own two feet and rightfully take their place in the MCU. I personally think that with this film and the previously released Thor: Ragnarok and the Guardians of the Galaxy films, the MCU hit the nail on the head perfectly. The Avengers was always written and designed to be a dark comic book/film. The lighter tone still keeps us enthralled and invested in the characters but allows us to have FUN. The first two Thor films delved heavily into Norse mythology but Ragnarok, while still adhering to Norse legend did it with a knowing wink at the audience and with a hell of a lot of humour. And it worked wonders.
The film looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-Ray. I saw this in a cinema in the U.K at a ‘Screen X’ presentation. Screen X presentations have the film directly in front of you AND along both sides of the theatre, surrounding you. While I found this an interesting and enjoyable way of seeing the film, I did find myself missing parts of the film showing up the sides of the screen. After watching the film on disc, I enjoyed it even more.
The cast is outstanding again in this sequel. Paul Rudd (who also co-writes) brings his charm and comedic acting skills to the fore as Scott Lang. Evangeline Lilly excels as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne shows us again what we are missing on the big screen with her absence. Michael Douglas commands our attention as Hank Pym as only an actor of his calibre can do. Hannah John-Kamen makes a tragic villain all that more believable as Ghost.
Sadly, however, despite great performances from acclaimed actors Walton Goggins and Laurence Fishburne as Sonny Burch and Bill Foster respectively, their characters are underwritten and lacking in depth. Take them out of the film and to be honest, despite needing them in there for dramatic purposes, you wouldn’t really miss them.
And then we come to an actor who, in my opinion, deserves every accolade that comes his way in Michael Pena. Pena is a revelation here again as Luis. His quickfire quips and his delivery of another ‘riffing a long story’ are standout moments in the film. Watch as how he speaks his lines during the truth serum scene, the actors he speaks for convey his words so perfectly, it makes for one of the best comedic scenes in Marvel history. How the actors managed to keep a straight face while filming these scenes is beyond me. Pena’s delivery is perfect. If you don’t believe me about his acting prowess, check out the fourth season of Netflix’s excellent drama, Narcos. His portrayal of the true-life DEA agent Kiki Camerena deserves to be awarded highly. Camerena was abducted, tortured and brutally murdered in 1985 on the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico. Pena’s portrayal of the doomed agent only enforces the belief that the actor is a force to be reckoned with.
Christophe Beck’s score for the film is both enjoyable and quirky again. Using his theme from the original film, Beck has crafted a score that fits the film and its events perfectly.
It’s a shame then that Disney and Marvel have released such a poorly supported disc of the film. I expect to have some special features backing up the film and its production but with this release, its a case of slap it onto a disc, package it up and sell it. Sorry but that doesn’t do the film justice, nor does the film deserve such a poor release such as this. If the film wasn’t so good and enjoyable, the disc would soon be at the bottom of the garage bin marked down. The film deserves so much more support.
As usual, make sure you sit through the end credits as there are TWO stingers during and at the end of them. The second is a strange but funny little sequence but the first is the one we wanted. It explains so much, as does the film about Ant-Man’s absence from the MCU during previous films and this past summers Avengers: Infinity War. Now the trailer for next summers Avengers: Endgame has been released, we all know that Ant-Man escapes the cliffhanger ending he is afforded in this film. We don’t know how he did it but Ant-Man WILL return in April 2019. And I for one cannot wait. Where Infinity War was dark and heavy with a little humour, knowing Scott Lang appears in the follow-up shows we can expect some light-hearted relief in between the tragedy and death that awaits our heroes.
The film is worth the price of purchase alone so make sure you grab yourself a copy. Just don’t hold out hope for any decent extras as you will be disappointed. But who can’t fail to laugh at large ants building complex machines, taking a bath and playing the drums as you will discover in this film?
Now, until next time, it’s time for me to press play on my machine again and enjoy Ant-Man and the Wasp in its HD glory again so if you don’t mind, I’ll buzz off!!
Ant-Man and the Wasp is available to own on Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Download and 4K Ultra HD from all good retailers now.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!